Welcome to RBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 9, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Thursday Morning January 13th, 2005

Radio News®

Sumner talks acquisitions;
Moody's talks downgrade
Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone's talk this week at an investor conference about getting Viacom back into seeking major acquisition targets has spooked analysts at Moody's Investor Service. Viacom's debt ratings are now under review for a possible downgrade.

RBR observation: Open mouth, remove foot. Did Sumner not realize that the credit raters would be listening to such comments? And on another matter, we find it interesting that while Redstone continues to complain that Viacom's stock is undervalued, he's been selling some of his own stake back to the company under the buyback plan - - more than 200 million bucks worth so far. Of course, he's been selling back non-voting Class B stock, not any of the Class A stock, through which the Redstone family's National Amusements holds voting control of Viacom. Who says you can't be sharp as a tack at 81 years of age? | More... |

Spitzer probe claims a victim
New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's probe of independent record promoters (10/25/04 RBR #208) has Empire State stations looking closely at dealings with the indies, and now Entercom confirms that it fired WKSE-FM "Kiss 98.5" Buffalo PD Dave Universal last week amid a company probe of whether he improperly accepted travel packages and other gifts. "Dave Universal was terminated from Kiss for violation of the company's conflict-of-interest policy," Entercom Buffalo VP/GM Greg Ried told RBR. He also confirmed that Spitzer's office has been in touch with the station. "Our company has been contacted by the New York State Attorney General's office. It inquired about the circumstances surrounding Dave's termination and we are cooperating," Ried said. He also said that the company's conflict-of-interest policy had been in place for many years, and had not been adopted or changed because of the focus on indies in recent years. In comments to the New York Times, which broke the story, Universal defended his actions. "I did nothing that Entercom was not 100% aware of, or approved of, the entire time I was there," he was quoted as saying. RBR was unable to reach the fired PD. The phone listed to a "D. Universal" residing near the Entercom Buffalo studios has been disconnected. Like many other radio groups, Entercom announced last year that its stations were severing their relationships with independent record promoters.

GAO, FOIA invoked in DOE-NCLB case
It looks like the Armstrong Williams case is going to be with us for some time. A group of high-ranking House Democrats have asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to look into the payments which went from the Department of Education to Williams. Meanwhile, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with no less than 22 government agencies in an effort to uncover other possible abuses. The Dems, led by minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), mentioned past GAO investigations on similar cases involving the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. "The federal use of covert propaganda is unethical, damaging to our democracy and open society, and, as you know, illegal," they wrote in a letter to GAO Comptroller General David M. Waller. They want a study of such activity going back to 1/1/01. Signing along with Pelosi are eight committee ranking members, including Henry Waxman (D-CA), George Miller (D-CA), David Obey (D-WI), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), John Dingell (D-MI), Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS). CREW is following a similar tack, and is specifically interested in work placed through PR firms Ketchum Public Relations and Fleishman-Hillard. CREW's Melanie Sloan said, "This type of covert propaganda has no place in a healthy democracy. It is particularly outrageous that the government continues to engage in this sort of illegal activity despite the fact that the GAO has said that it is illegal. The question now is how extensively has the Administration used propaganda to shore up its controversial policies."

Univision fined for putting employee on the air
It doesn't matter who you work for - - if you are put on the air without your prior consent, you can complain to the FCC and if the target of the complaint is guilty, the FCC can levy a fine. Univision is thus liable for 28K on the phone rap, amounting to 4K each for two FMs in California, two in Arizona and three in Texas. An AE working for Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. (HBC) was the butt of on on-air prank perpetrated by Raul Brindis. He "...pretended to be a man who had met the complainant at a local club..." and proceeded with a flirtatious conversation. Univision tried two tacks in trying to duck the fine. One, it can put any employee it wants on the air, and two, it didn't own the stations at the time - - this was before HBC merged into Univision. The FCC said it was unpersuaded by the first argument. "Thus, under Univision's reasoning, by agreeing to work at HBC the complainant - - as well as each and every employee at the company form the CEO down to the cleaning crew - - implicitly consented to having conversations aired without prior notice." The Commission also cited its precedent of transferring liability for prior offenses along with the licenses when a station is sold.

TVBR observation: We understand the first part of this ruling. We can't remember ever seeing an intramural situation like this, but the rules are the rules, and everyone should be protected, no matter who they work for. We don't understand the second part, though. If we buy a car from someone, does that make us responsible for any unpaid speeding tickets the seller may have accumulated? We think not. It seems the FCC should go after the guilty licensee or forget about it. Of course, in this case the guilty licensee was essentially Mac Tichenor, and he merged into Univision along with the radio stations, so maybe this is one time where the FCC's fine transfer would be justified.

They said it in 2004: October
As the old year exits stage right and the New Year makes its way to center stage, we thought we'd string together a compendium of quotes which appeared in RBR/TVBR during the past year. Today: October 2004 Victor Miller of Bear Stearns said during the Fall NAB Radio Show "Radio is the caboose on the ad track to recovery."

RBR observation: Miller was right on then and his statement still holds true as you read this morning. Look to your upper right corner in Bounce Back this quote to start 2005, "The problem is not what radio perceives as "perception," the problem is what the public perceives is "reality." | More... |

Marketing "R" Us:
Kornblum to keynote RAB
The former Chief Marketing Officer for Toys "R" Us, Warren Kornblum, who now is CEO of Shadow Entertainment Group, has been booked as the Friday luncheon keynote speaker for RAB2005 next month (2/10-13) in Atlanta. During his years at the toy retailer, Kornblum was responsible for a 400 million global marketing budget for 1,600 stores. "Warren's insights on emotional branding, and the importance of connecting with the consumer are powerful," said RAB President & CEO Gary Fries.


Kraft to curb snack-food ads
Moving to address growing concerns about childhood obesity and unhealthful eating habits, Kraft Foods announced it is going to curb its advertising of many popular snack food items to children under 12, reports the Washington Post. | More... |

Mediaedge:cia names Meridith Jamin
Director/Consumer Insights

Mediaedge:cia (MEC) has named Meridith Jamin to the new position of Director/Consumer Insights. Reporting to MEC Executive Chairman Charles Courtier, Jamin will use her expertise to develop insights into consumer behavior that will inform their choice and relationship with communication channels. Prior to joining MEC, Jamin was group planning director at Ogilvy & Mather, where her clients included Motorola, Unilever and San Pellegrino. She was previously a group brand planning director at Young & Rubicam, on Sony Consumer Electronics. Other clients included Sears, Campbell's and Fisher Price. Jamin has also worked in strategic planning for new products in the fabric division at Lever Brothers, and has helmed her own planning and research firm, The Jamin Company, with such clients as Lego.

Snapple "Returns the Favor''
with campaign

Snapple "Returns the Favor" to Snapple Fans starting 1/17 with the debut of a new campaign. The spots look to reconnect with Snapple consumers in a lighthearted way while introducing two new flavors: Diet Plum-A-Granate Iced Tea and Diet Lemonade Iced Tea. The integrated campaign includes television, radio, Internet, promotion and events that focus on the "return the favor" concept. The spots also mark the return of Wendy "The Snapple Lady" Kaufman to Snapple's effort. Wendy's voice will be heard in the six TV ads. Snapple is celebrating the launch of the new ads by ringing the closing bell at the NYSE yesterday. | More... |

New Progresso Soup campaign
stresses benefits of weight management

General Mills' Progresso Soup announced it is reaching out to America's 76 million baby boomers with a new flight of TV ads highlighting the weight-management benefits of soup. Airing 1/10 through mid February, the 30-second and 15-second ads show boomer-age women discovering that 25 varieties of Progresso Soup have just 100 calories or less per serving. The new ads promote Progresso Soup as an option for consumers looking for good-tasting, ready-to-serve foods that fit with their weight management goals. Progresso Soup varieties such as Chicken Noodle, Chicken & Wild Rice, and Vegetable each contain 100 calories or fewer per serving. The new campaign shows active baby boomer women shopping, working in the office and working out. In each light-hearted vignette, the women extol the virtues of eating Progresso Soup to manage calories. Developed by the Saatchi & Saatchi, the campaign is timed to run in key "soup season" - January and February - traditionally a peak time for soup sales and consumption. Progresso will spend over 8 million in total marketing for the campaign. The ads will be supported by two national FSIs, sampling, and in-store signage.

February Radio & Television Business Report

Final Call for Ad Marketing Positions needed by Friday 14th.

With distribution at RAB and NRB conferences and Pre Conventions of -4A's - TVB and NABOB.

Last Avails are:
1. Full page
1. 1/2 Vertical page with Jon Mandel commentary
1. Double truck strip with Focus on All Radio TV Public companies.
"GM talkback- "How has LPM ratings changed selling in your market?"

Jim Carnegie 813 909-2916 or June Barnes 803 731-5951 to get the ROI and be where the Winners are - The Real Media Business Magazine.

Media Markets & MoneyTM
Citadel: I left my Hart in Muskegon, Michigan?
Farid Suleman's Michigan minions are adding a station - - WCXT-FM Hart MI - - which currently serves the Muskegon MI Arbitron market. However, it has a bigger pond in sight than Arbitron's #226 ratings zone. An already-approved move to Coopersville will make the station a player in #66 Grand Rapids. Seller Nancy Waters will make 4.1M on the sale. WCXT-FM will retain its 105.3 mHz digs on the dial, but will upgrade from Class C2 to Class B upon completing the move, which is still in need of an actual FCC construction permit. Citadel stations already in Grand Rapids include WBBL-AM, WKLQ-FM, WLAV-FM & WTNR-FM. A temporary superduopoly will exist in Muskegon with Citadel's pending acquisitions of WEFG-FM, WLCS-FM, WSHN-FM & WUBR-AM.

Swap shop in North Carolina
Davidson Media and Truth Broadcasting have engineered a trade/cash deal which will move three AM stations in two North Carolina markets. Peter Davidson will sent WFTK-AM Wake Forest, part of the Raleigh-Durham market, and $1.25M in cash, in exchange for WWBG-AM Greensboro and WTOB-AM Winston-Salem. Truth Broadcasting is headed by Salem Communications exec Stuart Epperson Jr. RBR estimates the value of the deal at about $2.5M.

Eternal exits Omaha as Salem creates a combo
Hot on the heels of acquiring its first station in Omaha, KGBI-FM (10/27/04 RBR #210), Salem has found an AM mate for the FM. It's paying 3.1 million to buy KCRO-AM from Eternal Broadcasting LLC and keeping GM Johnny Andrews on to run both stations as Salem's Market Manager in Omaha. Listeners won't notice a great change when the change of ownership takes place. KCRO is already a Christian Teaching station. "Our acquisition of KCRO demonstrates our commitment to Salem's foundational Christian Teaching and Talk format and allows area listeners to enjoy many of the same programs they have heard for years on this station. KCRO joins KGBI-FM, our new contemporary Christian music station, and provides another venue for us to serve Omaha and surrounding areas," said Salem CEO Ed Atsinger.

Washington Beat
Political category may get some action in Sacto
The death of Democratic Rep. Robert Matsui (D-CA) has resulted in an open seat in the state's 5th district, which includes the capital of Sacramento. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced 5/3/05 as the date for a special election to fill the opening. That makes 3/8/05 the date for a primary election. So far, two Democrats have expressed an interest in running, one of whom is Matsui's widow. The other is a California state senator.

FCC CAC looking for new members
If you're interested in serving on the FCC's Consumer Advisory Committee, you have until the end of the month to get your application in - - they are due 1/31/05. The CAC's responsibilities and areas of recommendation include consumer protection and education, access by people with disabilities, impact upon consumers of new and emerging technologies, implementation of FCC rules and consumer participation in the rulemaking process. The CAC meets three times a year with 15 days notice, the meetings are open to the public, the membership term is two years, and the compensation package is "you're on your own." The FCC is looking for experts in FCC-related fields or in consumer advocacy.

Infinity launches Spanish in DC
Heritage Alternative outlet WHFS-FM is no more. At noon yesterday, Infinity rechristened the Washington, DC station "El Zol" 99.1, in Spanish, playing a current hit blend of Caribbean and Central American dance music targeted to adults 25-54. Spanish Broadcasting System consulted Infinity on the new format. | More... |

WSUL-FM Monticello NY from Reynolds Communications Inc. to Watermark Communications LLC

WWNA-AM Puerto Rico (Aguadilla PR) from Aureo A. Matos to Dominga Barreto Santiago

| More... |

Stock Talk
Broadcast stocks trail an up market
A strong earnings report from Intel gave tech and blue chip stocks a boost, with broadcast stocks left behind. The Dow Industrials rose 62 points, or 0.6%, to 10,618.

The Radio Index was off 0.639, or 0.3%, to 216.866. Radio One's Class D stock dropped 1.5%, while it's Class A was off only 1.3%. Entravision was down 1.4% and Citadel 1.3%.

Radio Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Wednesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change













Journal Comm.




Citadel CDL
14.25 -0.18

Radio One, Cl. A




Clear Channel




Radio One, Cl. D




Cox Radio












Saga Commun.








Salem Comm.








Sirius Sat. Radio








Spanish Bcg.
















Viacom, Cl. A








Viacom, Cl. B








Westwood One








XM Sat. Radio




International Bcg.









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Send Us Your OpinionsWe want to
hear from you.

This is your column, so send your comments to [email protected]

This reader says radio needs more than a new PR campaign to fix its problems.

The more I read terrestrial radio's response to satellite radio, the more ill I feel. The ongoing discussions and "plans of action," ranging from "less is more" (when it really isn't) to lame advertising campaigns, are going to bear no fruit. The problem is not what radio perceives as "perception," the problem is what the public perceives is "reality." | More... |

Russ Oasis

Upped & Tapped

ABC LA reorganizes
Cluster President/GM John Davison has reworked his management team at ABC Radio's LA stations. Bob Koontz, formerly Director of Sales for the four stations, is now Station Manager/General Sales Manager of KSPN-AM "ESPN Radio 710" and KDIS-AM "Radio Disney 1110." Koontz's former position of DOS for the cluster has been eliminated.

Stations For Sale

Rated Market AM Coverage
Bristol, TN (#98) and adjacent Western Virginia Coverage with two great AM's. Priced to Sell!
Cliff at Clifton Gardiner & Co (303)758-6900
[email protected]

Tennessee / Alabama Border AM
2.5 KW AM on border with Rated Market Coverage (#118). Motivated Seller! Cliff at Clifton Gardiner & Co (303)758-6900
[email protected]

10 Station (One State) Cluster
Four Markets with $900K Trailing Cash Flow. Excellent Management. Located in Far Northwest.
Cliff at Clifton Gardiner & Co (303)758-6900
[email protected]

More News Headlines

TVBR - TV News

Belo sees "challenging year" in 2005
You can add Belo to the TV group owners who don't share the view of forecasting gurus Bob Coen and Jack Myers that spot TV revenues will be up this year. "We expect 2005 to be a challenging year for most newspaper and local television companies, and for Belo as well," CFO Dennis Williamson told the Smith Barney conference in Phoenix. "With total TV Group revenues decreasing only slightly in 2005, the Television Group should make up most of the 60-plus million in political and Olympics revenue generated in 2004. Newspaper Group revenues are expected to increase in the low-single digits in 2005 with an expected mid-single digit increase at The Providence Journal and a high-single digit increase at The Press-Enterprise. The Dallas Morning News will continue to be affected by lower preprint revenue associated with lower circulation throughout the year and revenue displacement caused by advertisers' use of their credit banks in the first quarter," he said. Belo's TV group is facing tough comps after strong growth in 2004. Williamson noted that political revenues of 52.5 million exceeded the company's initial expectations and that Olympics revenues at its NBC stations totaled 10 million.

RBR Radar 2005
Radio News you won't read any where else. RBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

Mary Mapes fires back at CBS
Not taking her firing gracefully, after she was singled out as the main culprit in the broadcast of a report using possibly forged documents to accuse President Bush of dodging his National Guard duties. In a sharp retort, Mapes accused Viacom Co-President/COO Les Moonves of "vitriolic scapegoating" in giving her the axe. RBR observation: We smell a lawsuit. Meanwhile, there are rumors that Mapes has already been offered a job by a non-commercial news production outfit. We presume, though, that the salary in the non-com world would be less than what she rose to in what was, until last September, a stellar career at the Eye net. 01/12/05 RBR #8

Satellite gets more press from pro-radio campaign - Go figure
Even the latest effort by terrestrial radio to promote itself was twisted by the Wall Street Journal into yet another PR piece for satellite radio. "This week, a new advertising campaign with the tagline "Radio - - you hear it here first" shows just how scared the terrestrial-radio operators really are." The story also included a graph showing that satellite radio subscribership was "Rocketing Skyward," without noting that the total audience of XM and Sirius is still miniscule compared to terrestrial radio. RBR observation: This PR tin can idea has been kicked from Seattle NAB 2002 convention and it is now 2005 and of course satellite radio will get good PR from the consumer press because it has no place to go but up including their stocks. If radio wants good PR then first look in the mirror. Not pretty. Getting good PR? First it means running a class, profitable, and local operation. Then you get rave reviews from Wall Street suites. That brings good consumer PR. You read it here first and it didn't cost 28 million bucks. 01/12/05 RBR #8

They said it in 2004: September
"I'm going to Disneyland!" Na wasn't said by any high priced jock but by Michael Eisner, himself, concluding his letter to fellow directors announcing his intention to retire as CEO of Disney in September 2006. Now lest face it that is over a year away so grin and bare it? Na - baring it only happens at a Green Bay Packers game. 01/12/05 RBR #8

Analysts cut Clear Channel
estimates due to LIM
Bear Stearns analysts Christopher Ensley, Victor Miller and Tracy Young have reduced their revenue and EBITDA estimates for Clear Channel, saying the company faces near-term challenges in making its Less is More initiative work. The analysts say national advertisers are going to be slow to embrace 30-second spots. In some markets, they say, Clear Channel is sold out of 60-second inventory for January and February, but may have to discount to move its 30-second inventory. But the Bear Stearns analysts say Clear Channels problems could benefit rivals, such as Radio One, Emmis, Infinity, Cox, Entercom, Citadel and Cumulus. 01/11/05 RBR #7

Rupert Murdoch plans
6 billion roll-up of Fox
Now that he's moved News Corporation to the United States, is moving to roll the company's US subsidiary, Fox Entertainment, into the parent company. News Corp. announced an exchange offer to trade 1.9 shares of News Corp. Class A stock for each share of Fox stock. The stock swap values Fox shares at 33.54 each - - a premium of 7.4% over Friday's close. TVBR observation: Will investors force Rupert to sweeten the pot? Wall Street certainly thinks so.
01/11/05 TVBR #7

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